Wednesday 13 November 2019

'Avoid being aggressive or threatening' - new code of conduct for clampers

New code: A clamp must be released if it has not been locked by the time a motorist returns to their car. Photo: Damien Eagers / INM
New code: A clamp must be released if it has not been locked by the time a motorist returns to their car. Photo: Damien Eagers / INM
Breda Heffernan

Breda Heffernan

Clampers must avoid using "aggressive or threatening" language or engaging in "predatory activities" under a new code of practice for the industry.

Where a motorist is being "unreasonable or aggressive", the clamper should try to reduce the tension, but if this is not possible, they should leave the scene and call gardaí.

The new code, which has been devised by the National Transport Authority (NTA), aims to establish standards in relation to behaviour, performance of duties and conduct.

It says clampers should avoid using "tactics that appear overenthusiastic or aggressive to motorists".

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"In particular, activities which could be construed as predatory may not be carried out," it says.

The NTA also urges clamping companies dealing with appeals to give "reasonable consideration" in the exercise of discretion in compassionate cases.

Among a raft of recommendations contained in the new code is that a clamp must be released if it has not been locked by the time a motorist returns to their car.

It also says clampers must release all vehicles if their online or phone payment facilities are not working and that at no time should a clamper escort a motorist to an ATM to withdraw money to pay for a clamp to be released.

The code also says if clampers use hand-held card readers that rely on an internet connection and coverage is poor in the area where the clamping has taken place, clampers cannot ask a motorist to go somewhere else with better coverage to make a payment.

Motorists currently have a 10-minute "grace period" from parking their car to buying a parking ticket.

However, the NTA recommends that clampers wait 11 minutes from the time of detection before fixing the clamp "to eliminate unnecessary disputes".

It also recommends that parking controllers ensure tickets are "fit for purpose" in that they won't curl up in sunshine or get dislodged easily by slight air movements within a closed car.

In the case of park-by-text services, the NTA says while it is up to motorists to ensure they have entered the correct car registration, it says technology used by parking controllers should be able to recognise invalid year or county formats.

Irish Independent

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